This could look seriously cool.
In a patent filed with the World Intellectual Property Office, CarBuzz has discovered that Lotus is trying to perfect a system for holographic brake lighting.
The patent does not explain any obvious benefits to this technology besides that it may reduce the effect of dazzling, so we think Lotus is doing this purely for aesthetic reasons. It seems that Lotus finds the central brake light somewhat ugly and wants it hidden when not in use. We think it looks great in the Lotus Emira, but that car does not have the sort of adaptive spoiler Lotus talks about here.
The patent wants to separate the rear spoiler of a car from brake light systems but still wants the spoiler itself to act as the brake light. To achieve this, one design shows a brake light source in the top of the rear decklid, basically the area that would be the roof of a trunk in a conventional sedan.
The rear spoiler is fully transparent, and light can be passed through it to turn the entire fixture into what appears to be a third high-mounted brake light. This could be achieved through refraction by using a set of prisms, or Lotus could use a mirror-like surface and exploit reflection as a means of sending light to a spoiler otherwise disconnected from the illumination clusters.
Depending on what operation the active spoiler is performing, it could be raised or lowered, and this gives designers several ways of interpreting the rear lighting signature seen by onlookers when the brakes are activated. By aiming the light at the transparent spoiler in different ways, Lotus could create several lighting signatures.
But would this be as effective as a traditional brake light? We're not so sure.
Basically, it seems that Lotus is trying to make its designs cleaner. One way of achieving that is with transparent or semi-transparent aero appendages connected to innovative lighting systems. While this will have aesthetic benefits, it could also be convenient in cars where rearward visibility is lacking. A transparent spoiler would make it easier to see out the back of sports cars and supercars without compromising the rear window's shape, but the tech may find its way to one of the brand's upcoming new EVs, which include a sedan.
By switching to EVs, the Lotus mantra of simplifying and adding lightness cannot be adhered to as closely as in days gone by. Lotus needs to attract customers with exciting designs and clever ideas. A transparent spoiler with a holographic brake light may help convince the market that the company has what it takes to lead in other technologies.
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